Jason Penwell

Jason Penwell

About Me

Jason Penwell

I am a Systems Librarian and Librarian Assistant Professor of Library Science at Kennesaw State University.

I have worked in libraries for over ten years and was drawn to the profession by an intrinsic want to help others. I am a graduate of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and received a Master's degree in Information Sciences. I have found that the Information Science field challenges my natural curiousity and interest in solving problems and look forward to furthering my career as a librarian.

  • All photos on this site taken by Jason Penwell.

Statement of Librarianship Philosophy

Beloved television host Fred Rogers, of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, quoted his mother as saying “Always look for the helpers. There’s always someone who is trying to help.” These words have inspired a lifetime of wanting to help others and be a person that others look to for help. To me, librarianship is assisting those who are seeking information to not only find it, but also to teach them to analyze what they have found and synthesize something new. Users navigating the online world in the information age need the support of librarians to be responsible, information literate citizens.

With the advancement of technology and popularity of mobile devices, the Internet has entered ubiquity. Access to the Internet is nearly universal in developed countries and with that omnipresence comes a deluge of information. Because this information is often unfiltered or filtered through specific biases and agendas, utmost importance must be placed on critical thinking skills. There is a well-known idiom “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.” In the digital age, this expression can be changed to “You can lead a person to information, but you can’t make them think.” One of a librarian’s crucial duties is to impress the need for critical thinking about where information is coming from, the creator’s intent, and the accuracy of what they are reading or hearing. My favorite frame in the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education is “Authority is constructed and contextual.” It stresses that authority is defined based on context and that it can change based on what is known.

Support also means recognizing the needs of a diverse community. Having worked in a community college for over seven years, I have engaged with patrons across a spectrum of circumstances, personalities, ages, and needs levels. Accessibility, compassion, understanding, and patience are cornerstones of my approach to supporting a diverse population. In any single classroom, there is a disparity in information literacy levels, so a combination of macro and micro level instruction is generally needed to maximize useful skills development. I believe that broad instruction is beneficial for a baseline understanding of information literacy and focused one-on-one reference assistance can further advance the critical thinking skills and information seeking capabilities of all community members.


10+ Years of Library Experience


December 2017

Master of Science - Information Science

University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN

Relevant coursework: User Instruction; Web Design; Digital Scholarship Support and Services, Management of Information Organizations, Information Technologies

May 2011

Bachelor of Science - Mass Communication, Concentration in Radio/Television, Minor in Art

Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN

Honors: Vice President's Academic List

May 2008

Associate of Science - University Parallel, Mass Communication - Broadcasting

Northeast State Community College, Blountville, TN

Honors: Outstanding Broadcast Student 2008

Professional Activities

Committee and Volunteer Work

  • Volunteered at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research - April 2019
  • Served on Kennesaw State University Library Committees: Friends of the Library, FAQ Committee, Library Social Committee - 2019
  • NET Libraries Consortium Circulation Committee representative for Northeast State Community College 2011-2014
  • NeSCC President’s Staff Advisory Committee - 2016

Presentations and Training Sessions

  • Presented at GALILEO Interconnected Libraries (GIL) Users Group Meeting conference on Using Alma Analytics to Facilitate Library Weeding Projects - May 2019
  • Created and presented training session to library staff on Adobe Photoshop Basics - 2019
  • Created and taught one-off session on Adobe After Effects to undergraduate class - 2018
  • Professional Library Association Membership and Service

    • Boone Tree Library Association
      • Member - 2012-2015
      • Vice President - January 2012-September 2014
      • Webmaster - January 2012-October 2015
    • Tennessee Library Association Member 2012-present
    • American Library Association Member 2015-present

    Additional Training, Workshops, and Webinars

    • Ex Libris Alma Certified Administrator - February 2017
    • Institutional Review Board (IRB) Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) training - July 2019
    • American Sign Language I - Summer 2018
    • Dealing with Difficult Patrons webinar - September 2013
    • Active Bystander Training - July 2015
    • Engaging with the ACRL Framework: A Catalyst for Exploring and Expanding Our Teaching Practices Workshop - February 2018
    • LibGuides Best Practices and Accessibility webinars - June 2018


    February 2019 - Present

    Systems Librarian and Librarian Assistant Professor of Library Science

    Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, GA
    • Create/upkeep Alma Analytics reports for Library staff to support the goals and mission of the Library
    • Administrate and support Alma ILS – including troubleshooting and servicing problems, user and rule management
    • Reference – on-on-one research appointments, reference desk, on-call reference
    • Undergraduate Liaison – Outreach, Selector, Instruction
    • Research Guides
    • Collection Development for Undergraduate liaison areas – College of Computing & Software Engineering, College of Social Sciences
    • Library systems support for Marietta campus – administrate/troubleshoot variety of software/hardware
    July 2011 - January 2019

    Library Assistant II

    Wayne G. Basler Library, Northeast State Community College, Blountville, TN
    • Assist library patrons with research requests, locating materials, and checkout/in of library materials
    • Train and supervise student workers
    • Manage reserve items in Ex Libris Alma, including preparation and management of reserve materials and term loan rental calculators, for multiple campus sites
    • Oversee operation of the institution's Firefly courier system (statewide interlibrary loan), including the training of other staff on system functions and best practices
    • Request and process interlibrary loan materials through OCLC WorldShare
    • Springshare LibGuides editor
    • Created/redesigned library website (https://library.northeaststate.edu)
    • Organize circulating collection including shifting and spatial maintenance
    • Copy catalog using MARC standards
    • Collect and enter library statistics
    • Liaison for library materials and Students with Disabilities Office - 2007-present
    September 2008 - January 2011

    Student Assistant

    James E. Walker Library, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN
    • Assist library patrons with checkcout/in of library materials and researching information
    • Staff the Circulation Desk
    • Handle fines and fees
    • Provide assistance in person and by telephone
    • Assist in training student workers

    Computer Skills

    Integrated Library Systems - Ex Libris Alma, Innovative Interfaces Millennium, Voyager

    Springshare products including LibGuides/CMS, LibAnswers, LibCal, LibStaffer, and LibWizard

    HTML and CSS, WordPress, Omeka

    Computer hardware and software troubleshooting

    Canvas, D2L, Blackboard - experience as a student/instructor and with using LTI within LMS

    Adobe Creative Suite

    Microsoft Office Suite


    Tableau (Examples)

    OCLC Connexion

    Ellucian's Banner Student module


    • Set up and operated audio/visual equipment (including cameras, projectors, and microphones) for media events and classrooms
    • Designed graphics for campus television station
    • Video and audio composition/editing
    • Assisted in the creation and production of media for Direction: Northeast television program, including:
      • writing, shooting, producing video segments
      • assisting in studio shoots as stage manager, camera operator, microphone technician, teleprompter operator